Enterprise Software

Casual clothes in the workplace: A sign of working harder?

It seems the dot.commers left one lasting legacy -- casual dress. Even after the bubble burst, the acceptance of ultra casual dress has endured.

It seems the dot.commers left one lasting legacy — casual dress. Even after the bubble burst, the acceptance of ultra casual dress has endured.

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Who knew that IT workers would one day be setting fashion trends? A Wired article talks about how the workplace fashion stuffiness of the past is giving way to casual dress:

"These days, there are fewer distinctions between industries and power levels. Pretty much everyone looks more like they belong in tech support than in a partners' meeting. That's because somewhere between His Girl Friday and casual Friday, between black-tie and BlackBerrys, our workforce morphed from Mad Men into marathon men — and the race is not to the sartorial top, but to the bottom of the laundry pile."

And they offer a name for this fashion phenomenon: tech chic. The article lists several reasons behind the emergence of this trend.

First, tech money brought twentysomethings in hoodies to the head of the conference table in the dot.com era, and it looks like the preference is here to stay.

Second, the article claims there is a new feeling that if you look good, you're not working hard enough:

"In a world where profits are down, bankruptcies are rampant, and the most entrenched I-bankers are getting the heave-ho, you can't afford to look as though you spared an extra second thinking about the cut of your Charvet shirt."

In my heart of hearts, I hope that this new take on office dress has less to do with perceptions than it has to do with the fact that ability comes from the inside, not the outside.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

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